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Introduction to Sociology 2e

Key Terms

Introduction to Sociology 2eKey Terms

case study
in-depth analysis of a single event, situation, or individual
code of ethics
a set of guidelines that the American Sociological Association has established to foster ethical research and professionally responsible scholarship in sociology
content analysis
applying a systematic approach to record and value information gleaned from secondary data as it relates to the study at hand
when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable, but does not necessarily indicate causation
dependent variables
a variable changed by other variables
empirical evidence
evidence that comes from direct experience, scientifically gathered data, or experimentation
observing a complete social setting and all that it entails
the testing of a hypothesis under controlled conditions
field research
gathering data from a natural environment without doing a lab experiment or a survey
Hawthorne effect
when study subjects behave in a certain manner due to their awareness of being observed by a researcher
a testable educated guess about predicted outcomes between two or more variables
independent variables
variables that cause changes in dependent variables
interpretive framework
a sociological research approach that seeks in-depth understanding of a topic or subject through observation or interaction; this approach is not based on hypothesis testing
a one-on-one conversation between the researcher and the subject
literature review
a scholarly research step that entails identifying and studying all existing studies on a topic to create a basis for new research
a technique in which the results of virtually all previous studies on a specific subject are evaluated together
nonreactive research
using secondary data, does not include direct contact with subjects and will not alter or influence people’s behaviors
operational definitions
specific explanations of abstract concepts that a researcher plans to study
participant observation
when a researcher immerses herself in a group or social setting in order to make observations from an “insider” perspective
a defined group serving as the subject of a study
primary data
data that are collected directly from firsthand experience
qualitative data
comprise information that is subjective and often based on what is seen in a natural setting
quantitative data
represent research collected in numerical form that can be counted
random sample
a study’s participants being randomly selected to serve as a representation of a larger population
a measure of a study’s consistency that considers how likely results are to be replicated if a study is reproduced
small, manageable number of subjects that represent the population
scientific method
an established scholarly research method that involves asking a question, researching existing sources, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting a study, and drawing conclusions
secondary data analysis
using data collected by others but applying new interpretations
collect data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviors and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire
the degree to which a sociological measure accurately reflects the topic of study
value neutrality
a practice of remaining impartial, without bias or judgment during the course of a study and in publishing results
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